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Aerial view of the Center for Science and Innovation

Environmental Studies

"I have found that my degrees in Environmental Studies/Science were very helpful to my job in land use planning. Topics such as Env. Law, and Government and Env. Policy helped provide an understanding of the foundations and history of the land use regulations I must now understand and navigate, while topics like Geology, Ecology, and River Systems etc.., have given me a fundamental understanding of the real world factors which necessitate the regulations and the science upon on which the policies are built." Nate Joyner '13

Read more about our graduates.

Student examining earth from a digWe are at a critical moment in human history where we are confronted with the challenge of sustaining the biosphere’s structure and processes while at the same time providing for the well-being of its burgeoning human population. At MCLA we prepare students to tackle these issues by providing a rigorous, hands-on education in the interdisciplinary field of environmental studies. Students take courses in the environmental studies, as well as from related disciplines including biology, chemistry, earth science, economics, political science, philosophy, and sociology. Berkshire County, one of the most biodiverse regions of New England and home to an incredible variety of natural habitats, serves as our outdoor learning classroom. Partnerships with state and local organizations provide students with opportunities to apply their knowledge towards addressing pressing local environmental needs as early as their freshman year of college. Taking courses in MCLA’s Core Curriculum allows students to see the world from multiple perspectives and prepares graduates to successfully adapt to the evolving demands of careers in the environmental field.

Professor and class in a river for field work

Why MCLA is Different

In the Environmental Studies Program at MCLA, students and faculty form a close community of scholars and practitioners. From your first semester, you will join a team of inquisitive and enthusiastic students who quickly get to know each other while wading through streams to contribute to long-term water quality monitoring programs, collecting local flora, doing surveys of red-backed salamanders, and banding migratory saw-whet owls. As early as during your first year in the program you’ll have the opportunity to hear from experts from throughout the region regarding current issues in sustainability and, at the same time, work on projects to design solutions to local environmental challenges.

Students learn first-hand about natural processes and political structures by visiting the Everglades in Florida and the Adirondack Park as part of Environmental Studies courses that go on the road for days at a time. Many students have also independently studied in locations including Alaska, Montana, Kenya, Tanzania, Belize, Australia, Scotland, and the Czech Republic while completing the Environmental Studies Program.

The Environmental Studies Program at MCLA provides students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences they need to turn their passion for environmental issues into a career that they love.

When Your Professor is also a Lead Ecologist


Dr. Julie Richburg, lead ecologist for inland natural resources at the Trustees of Reservations and an MCLA adjunct professor, leads an environmental studies class on a trip to the Trustees' Field Farm site. (read more)

Stories from the Field: Classes, Internships, and Alumni Updates

Changing Careers? Recycle What You've Learned

Brian Ellithorpe

Sharing Knowledge at the Northeast Natural History Conference SP19

ENVI Conf SP19

Senior’s Love of Outdoors Shapes Career Goals


Alligators, Sharks & Manatees: Students Explore the Everglades
Spring 2019 South Florida Trip

S Florida allilgator

Tarantulas, Snakes and Scorpions: Junior Enjoys Unusual Internship

CRyan snake

An Alumna’s Wild Career in Montana


A Summer with Sea Turtles


Senior Serves NYC Community in Summer Internship

Jaret Gonzalez

Three Conference Presentations Highlight Student’s First Year


Spring Break Trip Leads to Spot on Local Board of Directors

Katie Howe with child

Environmental Studies Alumnus Teaches Sustainability to Farmers

David Wilfore trees for Tribs

Environmental Studies Grad Helps
NY Farmers

student in waders in a river

Class Trip Changes Career Course      

Rachel Drugin
Students Explore South Florida’s Ecosystems
Spring 2017 South Florida Trip

students wading through a cypress dome in Everglades National Park 

Degree is "Top Priority" for
Local Man

Adam Galambos and his dog

Environmental Studies B.S. with a Concentration in Environmental Science

View a sample 4-year plan to complete your major

Environmental Studies B.S. with a Concentration in Environmental Sustainability

View a sample 4-year plan to complete your major

Current Catalog


Environmental student clubs on campus


Prof. Elena Traister - ENVI Department Chair
CSI 225F

  Living Green logo

Green Living Seminar Series


Previous Travel Courses

ENVI 350: Ecology and Management of the Adirondack Park
October 11-14, 2019
Prof. Elena Traister

ENVI 355: Everglades and South Florida
January 12-21, 2019
Prof. Dan Shustack

ENVI 350: Sonoran Desert and the Arizona Borderlands
March 8-19, 2018
Prof. Dan Shustack

ENVI 350: Ecology and Management of the Adirondack Park
October 6-9, 2017
Prof. Elena Traister

ENVI 350: Everglades and South Florida January 7-16,2017
Prof. Dan Shustack
Watch YouTube video #1!     Video #2

March 12-22, 2015
Prof. Dan Shustack

Jan 3-13, 2014
Prof. Dan Shustack